RALEIGH — Fifty-five science centers across the state have been awarded a total of $6.3 million in special grants as part of the North Carolina Science Museums Grant Program, and included in that list are six counties in Western North Carolina — Henderson, Buncombe, Transylvania, Rutherford, Avery and Macon.
For Henderson County, Hands On! – A Child’s Gallery (Hands On! Children’s Museum) was awarded $106,619.86, and Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO received $71,884.28. In Buncombe County, the awards were as follows: The North Carolina Arboretum Society, $127,048.34; Asheville Museum of Science, $122,961.09 and Friends of the WNC Nature Center, $96,904.49.
For Transylvania County, Cradle of Forestry Heritage Site was awarded $117,770.91, and Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute got $106,789.89.
Funding for these special grants is made possible by the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) as directed by the 2021 State Budget, according to an Oct. 6 press release. Grants were awarded based on state-legislated criteria that promote the priorities of state government, with a primary goal of enhancing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education opportunities for the public, particularly in low-resource communities.
“The North Carolina Science Museums Grant Program helps fund crucial science education across our state,” said D. Reid Wilson, secretary of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, in the release. “This investment of federal funds by the legislature and the Governor will increase access to STEM experiences no matter where you live in North Carolina.”
The awards ranged from $70,000 to $185,000 and will be applied to spending in a federal timeline for ARPA funding that covers expenditures from 2022 through 2025 at these science centers.
“The great work of these museums continues to place our state at the forefront of informal science education nationally and these grants support that endeavor,” said Darrell Stover, Head of the North Carolina Science Museums Grant Program at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, in the release.
The rest of the centers receiving funds is listed below:
Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, $144,439.59
Highlands Nature Center & Botanical Garden, $147,672.18
Aurora Fossil Museum Foundation, Inc., $173,163.02
North Carolina Estuarium, $129,395.62
Roanoke/Cashie River Center, $150,636.55
Ocean Isle Museum Foundation, Inc., $144,460.21
Bald Head Island Conservancy, $123,008.16
Core Sound Waterfowl Museum, $133,850.50
Conservators Center, $126,111.92
Catawba Science Center, Inc., $106,363.61
Carolina Tiger Rescue, $104,765.26
Friends of the Parks Foundation, Inc. (Fascinate-U Children’s Museum), $119,959.98
Cape Fear Botanical Garden, $107,028.71
Cowan Museum of History and Science, $123,908.56
North Carolina Museum of Life and Science, $135,033.70
Sarah P. Duke Gardens, $76,488.53
Duke Lemur Center, $70,549.80
Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, $84,372.49
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, $115,851.16
The Schiele Museum of Natural History, $111,180.63
Natural Science Center of Greensboro (Greensboro Science Center), $97,422.37
Greensboro Children’s Museum, $95,650.63
Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park and Eco-Center, Inc., $185,242.83
Iredell Museums, $78,242.45
Allison Woods Outdoor Learning Center, $112,783.94
Carolina Raptor Center, $132,583.87
Discovery Place Kids-Huntersville, $101,664.21
Discovery Place Science (DPS), $83,146.84
Discovery Place Nature, $74,311.96
UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens, $71,046.99
Rocky Mount Children’s Museum, $127,042.80
New Hanover County
Cape Fear Museum of History and Science, $111,691.76
Airlie Garden, $108,077.69
Wilmington Children’s Museum, Inc., $89,760.07
Sturgeon City of Jacksonville, $109,191.73
North Carolina Botanical Garden Foundation, Inc. on behalf of North Carolina Botanical Garden, $120,108.62
Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, $84,762.28
Chapel Hill-Carrboro Children’s Museum (Kidzu Children’s Museum), $76,623.13
Port Discover: Northeastern North Carolina’s Center for Hands-on Science, $148,032.71
River Park North(RPN) Walter J. Stasavich Science and Nature Center, $116,926.86
Discovery Place Kids-Rockingham, $142,496.09
Exploration Station, $123,754.33
Rowan County Nature Center and Wildlife Adventures, $141,079.25
KidSenses Children’s Interactive Museum, $154,998.09
Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, $109,931.68
Marbles Kids Museum, $101,609.21
Science Museums of Wilson, Inc. (Imagination Station Science & History Museum), $126,450.12
For more information about the North Carolina Science Museums Grant Program, visit ncmuseumgrant.naturalsciences.org.